Comprehensive Overview (state-by-state) of the Legal Impact of wiretapping:
Colorado is a “one party consent” state regarding communication interception, where individuals can legally record their own communication without the consent and without notifying the other parties engaged in the communication. Regarding invasion of privacy through video-surveillance, Colorado strictly addresses the crime of video-voyeurism, the case when someone attempts to record the intimate parts of another person.
Impact of law
Intercepting communications where one is neither the sender nor the intended receiver of the communication, nor does he have consent from at least one party engaged in the communication, is illegal under Colorado law.
Colorado law makes the distinction between wiretapping and eavesdropping, having separate sections for each. A person commits wiretapping by attempting to intercept telephone, telegraph, or electronic communication to which he is not a party, nor has consent. Eavesdropping is committed by “a person not visibly present” during a conversation, therefore it applies to oral conversations.
References to Physical TSCM
The law specifically prohibits making unauthorized connection with any telephone or telegraph line, wire, cable, instrument or device or installing any device whether connected or not, which permits the interception of messages.
References to Cyber TSCM
The law does not specifically exclude cyber means of eavesdropping. It references prohibited actions rather than means: overhearing, reading, taking copies, or recording a telephone, telegraph, or electronic communication. Assuming that these actions applied to each type of mentioned communication media are subjects of the law, then taking copies or recording electronic communication, by means of cyber eavesdropping, is also covered by the Colorado law.
According to the Colorado Criminal Code (Colo. Rev. Stat. 18-1.3-401), wiretapping is a class 6 felony, except when it involves a cordless telephone. In this case it is a class 1 misdemeanor. Eavesdropping, as defined by law, is also a class 1 misdemeanor.
Class 6 felonies are punishable by a fine of $1,000 to $100,000 and between one year to 18 months in jail. Class 1 misdemeanor is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and up to 18 months in jail. Criminal invasion of privacy is a class 2 misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and fine up to $1,000.
Colo. Rev. Stat. 18-9-303 (2014) – Wiretapping prohibited – penalty
(1) Any person not a sender or intended receiver of a telephone or telegraph communication commits wiretapping if he:
(a) Knowingly overhears, reads, takes, copies, or records a telephone, telegraph, or electronic communication without the consent of either a sender or a receiver thereof or attempts to do so; or
(c) Knowingly uses for any purpose or discloses to any person the contents of any such communication, or attempts to do so, while knowing or having reason to know the information was obtained in violation of this section; or
(d) Knowingly taps or makes any connection with any telephone or telegraph line, wire, cable, or instrument belonging to another or with any electronic, mechanical, or other device belonging to another or installs any device whether connected or not which permits the interception of messages; or
(f) Knowingly uses any apparatus to unlawfully do, or cause to be done, any act prohibited by this section or aids, authorizes, agrees with, employs, permits, or intentionally conspires with any person to violate the provisions of this section.
(2) Wiretapping is a class 6 felony; except that, if the wiretapping involves a cordless telephone, it is a class 1 misdemeanor.
Colo. Rev. Stat. 18-9-304 (2014) – Eavesdropping prohibited – penalty
(1) Any person not visibly present during a conversation or discussion commits eavesdropping if he:
(a) Knowingly overhears or records such conversation or discussion without the consent of at least one of the principal parties thereto, or attempts to do so; or
(c) Knowingly uses for any purpose, discloses, or attempts to use or disclose to any other person the contents of any such conversation or discussion while knowing or having reason to know the information was obtained in violation of this section; or
(d) Knowingly aids, authorizes, agrees with, employs, permits, or intentionally conspires with any person to violate the provisions of this section.
(2) Eavesdropping is a class 1 misdemeanor.
Colo. Rev. Stat. 18-9-301 (2014) – Definitions
(5) “Intercept” means the aural or other acquisition of the contents of any wire, electronic, or oral communication through the use of any electronic, mechanical, or other device.
(8) “Oral communication” means any oral communication uttered by any person believing that such communication is not subject to interception, under circumstances justifying such belief, but does not include any electronic communication.
Colo. Rev. Stat. 18-7-801 (2014) – Criminal invasion of privacy
(1) A person who knowingly observes or takes a photograph of another person’s intimate parts, as defined in section 18-3-401 (2), without that person’s consent, in a situation where the person observed or photographed has a reasonable expectation of privacy, commits criminal invasion of privacy.
(2) Criminal invasion of privacy is a class 2 misdemeanor.